Name: Mary Walters Kvetkosky
Graduation year from St. Amelia: 1987
High School: Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart
College: Erie Community College, A.A. degree in Arts and Humanities
Occupation: Web and Communications at University at Buffalo
Q: What have you been up to?
A: I’ve been active in parish life since graduation, mostly with youth programs. In fact, I was the youth minister here for a few years in the early 2000’s. Now, I teach religious education to 8th graders. I think young people don’t have a lot of great role models so I hope that something I’ve said or done over these many years has made a difference. I am married for 19 years to my best friend, Noel, who is an usher and Eucharistic Minister. Our son, Matthew, is in 8th grade at Kenmore East. I’ve been working at UB for nearly 18 years.
Q: How did your academic experience at St. Amelia School prepare you for the future?
A: I received an excellent education. Not only was it academically appropriate, but the learning environment was very conducive to staying focused and trying my best. In my day, we had the good fortune of being taught by many wonderful Felician Sisters and I was deeply influenced by their prayerful and thoughtful example of how to treat one another. I felt safe, loved and special. Maybe that’s why I stayed active in youth programs, because I want all kids to feel that way.
Q: What is your fondest memory of St. Amelia (lunch, sport event, etc.)?
A: Besides the congo bars at lunch, I’d have to say that my fondest memory is of when I was honored with the very first Student of the Year award at 8th grade graduation by my awesome teacher Mr. Mike Swords. The award never existed and it was kept a secret from us. As Mr. Swords read the citation and ticked off all the reasons why this mystery student was deserving of this high honor, I was naming classmates in my head, never considering it would be me. It’s not an award you work towards. It’s not for having the best grades, being the best athlete, or having the most friends. It’s about being who you are at your core. It’s about being yourself. My fondest memory got even better this year when my nephew, Bradley Converse, of the class of 2017, was awarded Student of the Year. As I watched his reaction as he accepted the award, I knew exactly what he was feeling. How wonderful for my nephew to receive the award and exactly 30 years later.
Q: What teacher or subject influenced you the most at St. Amelia?
A: The nuns were very influential, so much so that I wanted to be a nun! We used to pull our blue uniform cardigans over our heads and button the top button under our chin to look like we were wearing habits! I don’t remember what we talked about while role playing, but it must have looked hilarious.
Q: What life lessons did you learn at St. Amelia?
A: Through my friendships and caring teachers, I learned that it’s best to do the right thing, even when doing the right thing is hard. With God’s love and support of your friends, there’s almost nothing you can’t do.
Q: What advice would you offer to today’s graduates of St. Amelia?
A: Treasure your time at St. Amelia. Take advantage of the opportunities afforded to you, whether it is through academics, sports or volunteerism. Be thankful for the good times and the bad times, because you will learn about yourself in those experiences. Don’t hate it because it’s school but love it because it’s cool.
Q: What advice would you give parents considering St. Amelia School for their child?
A: Go for it. Though it’s been a while since my time roaming the halls, not much has changed philosophically. Your child will be safe, cared about, and made to feel special. St. Amelia provides your child a good foundation on which to build their moral character. They will work hard, play hard and pray hard. Should we put that on a t-shirt?